An excellent question to ponder upon, so let us.
2020 has only added up to our levels of stress. The year began with political unrest across the country. From the government threatening to uproot the lives of thousands of citizens to hundreds of students being beaten up to death for protesting in a democratic country, to the various climatic changes across the world, to the unfortunate outbreak of a killer virus, the word 'stress' itself seems to have become one of the most used terms of this year. The prevailing uncertainty among the students about their future, millions of youth losing their jobs due to a pandemic, the free-falling economy and not to forget (as the media wouldn't let you) the mysterious death of a celebrity, has made us more and more apprehensive about our future with each passing day.
But what do we really mean when we say we are stressed out? Where an optimal level of stress is essential for us to function and get our work done, anything beyond that level can cause distress, and that is precisely the kind of stress that we are referring to in this article.
Anyhow, the most outstanding of all the stressors, as mentioned above, is the outbreak of the coronavirus. Who knew that it could cause such large scale destruction. With cases increasing daily the fear of contracting the virus has caused our levels of stress to touch sky heights. It seems to be becoming a part of our life.
Is that healthy, though?
Let's understand what happens on the insides of our body when we encounter a stressful situation in our life. When faced with a stressful event, our body turns its fight-flight mode on with two hormones, namely, cortisol and adrenaline, taking charge of the wellbeing of the whole body. Where adrenaline increases our heart-rate and blood sugar levels, cortisol, otherwise also called the stress hormone, enhances the use of glucose in the body. As the cortisol suppresses the digestive system and alters the actions of the immune system, with persistent exposure to stress, our ability to fight back any diseases like that we may encounter in our lives is reduced to ashes.
However, with constant exposure to multiple stressful events, one can contract a truckload of physiological diseases that one may not even be aware of. Most of us take it lightly. We fail to grasp the severity that prolonged stress can have on our mental and physical fitness. Anxiety, headaches, depression, digestive problems, asthma, cardiac problems, high blood pressure, are some of the health problems caused by stress.
Well, talking about stress and other mental health problems is essential, but to leave them untreated and let them become a part of our lives in the name of normalizing mental health issues is problematic in itself. Just like acknowledging a fractured bone isn't enough and you certainly have to get that properly treated, similarly owning our psychological problems isn't enough. As times call for adjusting to, and accepting some norms of a new everyday life, like washing hands regularly, wearing a mask or maintaining a safe distance with people when outside and avoiding being outside unless it is urgent, it also looks forward to leading a life stress-free life.
Here are some stress management techniques that you can apply when stress starts acting tipsy:
Exercise: now this is something that we come across more often than not, and we do take efforts to do better; however, it is never long-lasting. Perseverance is the key. Restart every time you fail to continue, and that is how you march ahead.
Keep away from the news channels as much as possible. Keeping yourself updated with whatever is happening around the globe is essential, but the moment you start to feel anxious JUST SWITCH IT OFF. Set a time limit for yourself.
Practice mindfulness: this technique has real calming effects. It helps me at the moment and takes your mind off the various stressors.
Read good books and watch good movies: don't binge on them. But let them be a part of your daily life in a healthy way.
Chores: engage in tasks like washing dishes, cleaning, etc. They have proven to be super therapeutic.
Communicate: talking to friends or your family members about your stress really relieves you off it. Remember we are all in this together and we gotta have each other's back.
Do let us know if you have any more stress management tips that have helped you. Feel free to send in your responses or reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org